Up-charge aka Price Gouging

For those of you that know me, you know that I believe in being very open and honest with people, in both my personal life and in business. I am also not afraid to speak my mind, especially when it comes to something I am very passionate about.

The same belief is carried over to my business. Delaware 302 is built on both honesty, and offering affordable solutions to our clients. We set our prices lower than the competition because our business is about helping businesses grow, not how much money we can make. We also never charge our clients something they don’t need. Not every technology company has these same beliefs though.

What many people don’t know, is that my company is also the development arm for numerous technology companies here in Delaware. To date, we have 4 that we work with on a fairly regular basis to build web sites and applications, host, and create graphic designs for. This is actually a fairly common practice when a technology company doesn’t have the staff or resources to handle the work.

This has led to numerous challenges that we have had to address, the primary of which is maintaining the illusion of being the technology company that the contract was signed under. The other one, which is the focus of this post, is pricing.

As I said in my opening, not every technology company has the same beliefs as we do. We have watched in disbelief as companies we did business with in the past took our project scopes and quotes, and up-charged the work as much as 115%. I will point out I did say DID work with. We no longer do business with these companies because of their practices, and insane price gouging to make as much money as they can from each bid.

It is the client that ultimately suffers from this practice that has no rules or regulations in place to stop it. Web site solutions, and the prices charged, seem to be at the complete whim of the company quoting the build. The type of client, and the perceived revenue stream they have also comes into play. Many technology companies charge more if the potential client is a well know store, law firm, or financial company, compared to a local mom and pop shop or a start up.

To drive my point home on this, I will share with you a recent project we quoted for another technology company. The client is a fairly well known company with locations in both Delaware and Maryland, and they wanted a new web site. I was invited to attend the meeting with the client’s marketing person, and she came to the meeting prepared with research she had done on their competitor’s web sites, and a wish list for the new site based upon this.

Armed with her research and wish list, we scoped out the project, calculated in the needed custom development, and wrote up a quote. We then sent the quote over to the technology company we were working with, so they could work it into their proposal. About 2 weeks later the owner of the technology company called and said the client had some sticker shock, and asked if we could cut our prices on the project. I came to find out shortly after that call, that they tacked on almost $11,000 to my quote.

I was in shock when I found this out. Who in their right mind would up-charge 115% on a site build when they are doing absolutely nothing, except generating a contract. Then have the brass ones to call me and ask me to cut my prices on top of it.

No wonder companies have such a bad taste left in their mouth when dealing with technology companies like this.

At Delaware 302, we strive to be different. We charge the same for our solutions no matter who the client is, without any up-charges. We also offer the same level of exceptional service to all of our clients.

If you are ready for a change, contact us and let us help you build a solution that works for you.

Let’s build the future together.

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Day Of Rest

It is said that when you own a business, especially when you are a small start-up business, that you business is not just a full-time job, it is a full-life job. What they say is very true. As a small business owner myself, I can attest to this fact. Your business day starts the moment you wake up, and it ends when you go to sleep at night. It is normal for a business owner to dedicate 16 to 20 hours of their day to their business, and weave their normal life activities around this.

While many people think this is completely insane, and enjoy being able to leave work behind when they walk out of their job at the end of the day, for those of us that have been infused with the entrepreneurial spirit, it is just what we do. It gives us energy, fuels our desires, and charges us with the drive to keep going long after most people would stop.

For the service businesses out there, like plumbers, that offer 24 hour emergency assistance, their day technically doesn’t end. The reason for this, is that emergencies are just that, emergencies. They happen at any moment of any day. Imagine if you had your hot water heater rupture, or if in the dead of winter your furnace died on you in the middle of the night. You pick up the phone and call for help, and these businesses have dedicated themselves to their clients 24/7 for exactly this reason.

As will all things though, there needs to be a balance. Running full tilt 7 days a week, non-stop, eventually takes its toll on you. You may find that you are never fully able to recharge your internal battery, and notice you are becoming exhausted faster. After all, even Superman had to recharge, which is why he went to his fortress of solitude.

The same holds true when you own a business. You need to set aside a day to rest and recharge. You need to be able to step away from your business momentarily, and let loose to enjoy your non-business life. While many people find this hard to do, myself included, it is necessary to make sure you are renewed and refreshed, and able to tackle your business goals and objectives fully charged and energized.

In doing this one simple thing, finding a day of rest in your busy schedule, you can make sure you are able to give your business your all, which translates into being able to service your clients and customers better.

The Egomaniac

I decided for my post, to deviate just slightly from my normal line of discussions, and touch on something personal that has left me shaking my head in utter amazement. A single decision that I had made not that long ago, that quite literally introduced me to a person that not only has no real concept of reality, but also runs a fairly well known company.

As a little background, I have worked in the technology industry for over 14 years. My career started doing simple web site designs, and lead quickly into the preparations for Y2K. I survived through the crash of the .COMs, and developed security systems during the upheaval of the financial industry during the mortgage crisis. My career has been an adventurous journey, filled with many ups and downs, and constantly learning new technologies to expand my personal knowledge.

A few months back, I was asked to come work for a local technology company right here in Delaware. I at first accepted the job, then backed out, due to other obligations that I had which may have been a conflict of interest, and also the fact I had misgivings about taking the job. The owner of the company really wanted me to come work for him, so he pursued me endlessly. Finally I caved and agreed to go work for him. Lesson learned, I should have listened to my instincts from the start.

I have worked with all types of personalities, from every walk of life, over the years. This was the first time though that I had ever encountered a true Egomaniac. Before I briefly relay to you the four months I spent working with this person, an eternity that I wouldn’t wish on my worse enemy, I figured I would share what an egomaniac is with you:

Egomania is an obsessive preoccupation with one’s self and applies to someone who follows their own ungoverned impulses and is possessed by delusions of personal greatness and feels a lack of appreciation. The condition is psychologically abnormal, and the clinical condition that most resembles the popular conception of egomania is narcissistic personality disorder.

In the short eternity that I spend working for this person, I witnessed his quite frequent rampant temper tantrums, listed to him marching around the office cursing out his clients, blaming all of the problems the company was having financially on every employee that ever worked for him, and his constant bragging about how great of a sales person he was, and could land any client he “deemed worthy” of the effort to get.

He also bragged endlessly about all of the great things he did. Unfortunately I never fed into his bravado and this disturbed him, to the point to where he took great pleasure in constantly changing my priorities multiple times on a daily basis, in what I believe was an effort to both set me up for failure, and to remind me he was in charge and had to do what he said. He did the same thing to all of the other employees too, that didn’t drink his “I am the greatest” Kool-Aid. He also would never admit when he was wrong, and immediately blamed his employees for any problems when he was talking to clients.

In the time he has been in businesses, he has 5 current employees, and 42 ex-employees.  Maybe it is just me, though there is something seriously wrong with those numbers.

With regards to his clients, he has them between a rock and a hard place. It is almost impossible for them to leave, because of the way their information is locked up inside his system. It would literally take them manually rebuilding everything from the ground up somewhere else. A task many of these companies don’t have the funds, or man power to accomplish.

Why did I decide to tell you all of this you may ask? The answer is quite simple. When you are a business owner, trying to carve your niche in the market place, your character as a an owner and person, and the way you treat your employees, is as important as the products and services you offer. Each day you need to put your best foot forward, and give your business your all. Every person you come in contact with, should be treated with honesty and integrity. Your employees are an extension of your company. If they feel like everyone is working together, and their efforts are appreciated, they will go that extra mile, spread the word, and help your business grow.

As you go through your day, ask yourself this simple question:  Do I treat my employees as well as my customers/clients the way I would want to be treated?

After all, it’s not just your business, it is your reputation.